Same Title, Different Song

The more astute amongst you will have noticed that usually by this time of year, the last weekend in July, I’ve posted a whole load of summery songs over what turned out to be a brief summer.

This year, it seems the weather has managed perfectly well without my help, thank you very much, so I’ve stayed out of the way.

Until now.

Two songs, one which isn’t really about summer, but has the word in summer in the title, and evokes that whole Young Rascals/Isley Brothers summer groove, the other which is unashamedly about summer, unabashedly pop, and, as those of us who refuse to look down our noses at them know, unapologetically brilliant:

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The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (’89 Mix)

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Girls Aloud – Long Hot Summer

Now, let the rainclouds roll in and unleash. We need to grow food to stockpile.

More soon.

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Glastonbury, So Much to Answer For

It certainly hasn’t escaped my attention, but I bet you haven’t even noticed, that Glastonbury officially starts on Friday and I am not there.

I mention this because the last time I went, two years ago, it was the Wednesday before it officially kicks off that I arrived.

Actually, I arrived late on the Tuesday night, but you’re not permitted onsite before Wednesday morning, so I, along with the group of folks I was camping with, only one of whom I’d met before, had met in one of the fields doubling up as a car park, like some weird dogging jamboree where everyone had arrived thoroughly prepared to get drunk to dull the pain of what was about to happen.

From there, we set off to join the impressively and annoyingly big queue for the gates.

And there we remained until early Wednesday morning, when the gates opened and what had been a reasonably orderly queue transformed into a mad free for all scrum to get inside.

Once inside, our group reconvened at our chosen spot for camping, and we all set about constructing our living quarters for the next few nights.

Although the gates had opened at 9am (I think), it was mid-day before we reached this spot, and, just like today, it was a gloriously hot and sunny day:

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Noel Coward – Mad Dogs and Englishmen

By around 1pm, my tent was up, my mattress fully inflated, the contents of my rucksack strewn across the floor of my tent to make any potential thieves think someone had beaten them to it, and so it was at this point, with sweat dripping from every pore, that I decided now would be the moment to demonstrate to my new found buddies just what I do better than anything else in the world.

Have a kip.

I reckon if you asked any of that gang their thoughts on me by the end of the weekend, they would probably say: “Sleeps a lot.”

And they’d be right, and I’d be rightly proud.

But on this occasion, I had made one fatal error; I crawled into my tent, flopped down on my back, and lay with my feet and lower parts of my legs sticking out. It would create an amusing image for any passers-by, I thought.

When I awoke an hour or so later, my legs and feet were, of course, very sunburned, making any attempts to walk for the rest of the weekend an unpleasant and painful chore.

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Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun

I soldiered on, of course. Aided by lots of tactical snoozes throughout the weekend with my legs safely covered.

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #30

For fear of overkill, apart from marking their passing, I’ve shied away from posting much Bowie or Prince since their sad, sudden demises earlier this year. For example, the other week, when writing the post about my brother’s birthday and his musical inclinations as we grew up, I completely omitted, deliberately, to mention he was the only person I knew (at the time) who bought the “Purple Rain” soundtrack. It was too soon, I thought.

Time to redress that. Here from his genre-busting “Sign O’ The Times” album is an absolute doozy:

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Prince – Play in the Sunshine

As I was listening to that, it occurred to me there’s a whole instrumental break in it that sounds like it’s lifted from a soundtrack. Now, Prince loved making movies to go with his albums, but I wasn’t aware of him doing one for “Sign O’ The Times” so I did a little research, and boy oh boy I’m glad I did, for I stumbled across possibly the best review of an album I’ve ever read.

This, from “The Village Voice”:

‘Sign O’ The Times…[is the sound of]…the most gifted pop musician of his generation proving what a motherfucker he is for two discs start to finish.’ The author, Robert Christgau, goes on to praise Prince’s ‘one-man band tricks…[which] make Stevie Wonder sound like a struggling ventriloquist’ along with his ability to express real emotions: ‘The objects of his desire are also objects of interest, affection, and respect. Some of them he may not even fuck.’

Sheena Easton was not available for comment.

Moe soon.

That Summer Feeling #29

Of course, if I’m going to describe a song as sounding like The Stranglers (and now I think about it, I’m not sure how much water that comparison holds), it would be remiss of me not to post their own stab at a summer record.

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The Stranglers – Peaches

I think, in fact no, I’m sure, that’s the only record to be a hit in the UK that had the word “clitoris” in it.

In case any male readers are struggling to find it, it’s towards the end of the song.

More soon.

How To (and How Not To) Do A Cover Version (That Summer Feeling #28)

Pretty straight-forward, today’s lesson:

  1. Dispense with the whole “boy-part/girl-part” structure of the original vocal;
  2. Make it sound like a trippy, nice’n’sleazy Stranglers cover

Lifted from the 1990 Anti-Poll Tax compilation album “Alvin Lives (in Leeds)”, here’s 14 Iced Bears:

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14 Iced Bears – Summer Nights

Of course, the original, lifted from the smash hit movie “Grease”, was a huge beast back in 1978, when it spent 7 weeks at Number 1 in the UK.

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John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Summer Nights

As an indication as to just how massive “Grease”-mania was, “Summer Nights” was the second single to be released from the soundtrack, and the second to hit the top spot in the singles chart. The first single was “You’re The One That I Want”, and if you were to combine the two, Travolta & Newton-John spent 16 weeks at Number One in 1978.

So, since the film essentially describes a holiday romance that continues unexpectedly, it’d be wrong of me not to include that song here too, right?

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John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – You’re the One That I Want

Sadly, I don’t have any cover versions of that by 1970s comedy actors to play now.

Oh  wait. Sorry. What I meant to say was: Sadly, I do have a cover version of that by 1970s comedy actors to play now.

Brace yourself:

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Hylda Baker & Arthur Mullard – You’re The One That I Want

And if that wasn’t bad enough, here they are, “singing” live, on what has to be the most excruciating appearance on Top of the Pops this side of All About Eve’s backing track malfunction:

Learnt most of my best dance moves off old Arthur, as it goes.

Bet you wish I wasn’t having phone issues now, eh?

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #27

Second appearance from Belle and Sebastian here, and it was a toss up whether to post this or the equally lovely “Ease Your Feet In The Sea”, but this one wins because it compliments the recent post about “Unemployed in Summertime” rather neatly:

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Belle & Sebastian – A Summer Wasting

Without wishing to tread over old ground (and by the way, thank you for the lovely comments, texts, emails and calls that my post about “Unemployed in Summertime” prompted; more than any others that I’ve ever received they meant a great deal to me), it seems to me the title of this song could be taken in one of two ways: a mournful, reflection on wasted time, or a bright and breezy recollection of a summer from our youth where the summer holidays seemed to stretch out to infinity in front of us, where time wasn’t an issue and where you could just ride your Chopper around the new build estates or simply laze around on playing fields, doing nothing, to your heart’s content.

It’s Saturday. Let’s plump for the latter, shall we?

More soon.

That Summer Feeling #26

If ever you wanted a snapshot of summer in America in the early 1960s, then surely this is it:

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Nat ‘King’ Cole – Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Also: props for a) including the word “wieners”, and b) managing to get it to rhyme with the word “bikinis”.

Never let it be said that my musical taste is not diverse.

More soon.